For the People sent the following letter to President Joseph R. Biden Jr. this morning, urging him to pass retroactive unemployment benefits for the millions of Americans who went 17 weeks from September to December 2020 without any enhancements from the United States Government.
The BIPOC and youth-led coalition of voters pointed out that Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised "bigger, bolder and safer" relief if Democrats won the majority in Congress, and The White House, and that it would be retroactive.
After former, twice-impeached disgraced President Donald Trump signed an executive order in late August 2020 to provide a $300 supplemental benefit, law experts who were skeptical of the power agreed it was indeed constitutional.
"Millions of unemployed Americans went months without any aid from the government. If a parent of four who lost their job is only making $99 a week, there is no way they can live off of that," Tayon Kulos, the Editor-in-Chief of For the People said. "We're calling on President Biden to -- with the stroke of a pen -- sign an executive order and reimburse the American people who were left with nothing for months, or call on Congress to do the same if he doesn't believe he has the power."
The letter can be found below in full:
Dear Mr. President,
While we appreciate and acknowledge the work you’ve been doing to ensure the American people get the aid they need in order to survive, we’re writing to you with serious concerns about the proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan.
As you know, the CARES Act passed in March 2020 included a $600 unemployment enhancement that expired on July 31, 2020. President Trump signed an executive order giving Americans $300, or $400, in some cases, for an additional six weeks for certain individuals. Still, since September 2020, millions of unemployed Americans were left without any additional relief from the government, until a bill was passed in late December.
On October 20, 2020, while on CNN, Speaker Nancy Pelosi discussed the issues she was facing in making a deal with Republicans to provide needed coronavirus relief. Additionally, she noted, if Democrats took control of Congress and the White House, you would provide “bigger, bolder and safer” relief, and, she said, “it will be retroactive.”
Therefore, we are disappointed to learn that the current proposed resolution does not make up for the 17 weeks that the government provided no unemployment aid to millions of Americans, and we respectfully request that the Biden White House ensures that the American people get this very much needed relief.
While we are grateful that Congress is expected to provide a $400 unemployment enhancement, overdue bills, rent and other obligations haven’t just disappeared. We’re asking that you provide that same benefit for the 17 weeks Congress refused to act. The most a person would receive, if they were unemployed for the entire period, is $6,800 — just one look at the number reminds us of an obvious truth: for some Americans, who were unemployed through no fault of their own, that money could be a lifesaver.
We hope you will take this action to give the American people the relief they need.
FOR THE PEOPLE
February 17, 2021